Planned induced labour.

Do the days leading up to your due date seem to be passing very slowly? Bear in mind that it's completely normal for the baby to arrive from two weeks before to two weeks after your expected due date. In fact, only about 4 percent of births happen on the actual estimated due date. So hang in there.

If you go over the due date, you will be monitored carefully to check that you and the baby are well. The general approach is that it is better not to intervene more than necessary because it is best for you and your child if labour starts naturally.

Labour is not only induced if the mother has gone past the due date. Labour can also be induced if the waters break without the woman going into labour. It may also be induced if there is something wrong with you or the baby, for instance if you have pre-eclampsia.

Methods used at the maternity ward to induce labour
The most common methods:
1. Hormones taken vaginally or orally. They soften the womb and start the contractions.
2. Hormone drops to start the contractions.
3. Puncturing the amniotic sac to break the waters.
4. A special catheter is inserted into the vagina until the end enters the womb. A small balloon is then filled with water, which creates a downward pressure that causes the cervix to open.

An induced labour also takes time
It can take up to 48 hours for labour to start. However, if the mucus plug is ready to dislodge and it is possible to start administering labour-inducing drops or puncture the membranes, it usually takes less than 24 hours. It's always easier to induce a pregnancy if the process has already started and the mucus plug is ready to dislodge.

Read more about the three stages of labour and different types of pain relief.
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